A vacation to the “Place Where Dreams Come True”, Walt Disney World, is supposed to be fun, a place to build happy family memories, a place to celebrate, a retreat from the rest of the world, a place where magic does happen, every day. It is so much fun, right? But it is fragile in the sense that it can easily be derailed by unexpected circumstances, but only if we let it. If you come determined to have fun and enjoy seeing smiles on your friends and family, you will have a great vacation. My family has taken so many vacations to WDW, prior to finally moving here, but there is one that sticks in our minds and to a normal guest standard, we would say it was the most challenging visit. All kinds of things went wrong, and we had grumpy people a lot of the places we went, but because we were determined to have fun, when this stuff happened we just looked at each other, shook our heads, and laughed together. We still laugh about it. Here are some tips to keep your Walt Disney World vacation from being ruined.
10. Not reading signs and knowing how to read the map
Ok so knowing how to read a map may not totally ruin your Disney vacation, but it would be so much better if you did have this skill. Make this a learning game for your family! Teach your kids how to read a map, maybe do some geocaching here at the World, make it fun! If you want to play the Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom interactive card game, or the Pirate’s Adventure game, you will need to be able to read the maps. You need to obey the signs you see as well, so take the time to read them. Reading signs can make a big difference in your day. Heed the warnings on the signs for each attraction. If you are pregnant or have back issues or motion sickness or a heart condition, you especially need to pay attention to the signs. My Disney Experience can help make this part much simpler as well!
9. Dropping your phone/camera into the water
This is a big fear of mine! Unfortunately you will not be getting these back, as by the time they drain the attraction of the water, your device will be useless. Not all places where you are on water get drained, so don’t expect Disney to send a diver down to find your item. Make sure you tuck these items safely away when boarding an attraction. On dry attractions there are Cast Members who walk the track and collect what they are able to find and send it to Lost & Found, but there is no guarantee your device will be retrievable in this way. We would hate for you to lose your phone or your camera with your treasured photos and personal information. Also, if you leave an item on a ride vehicle, such as in a pocket on the ride, and you remember it after you exit the ride, do not run back in the exit toward the ride vehicle thinking you are going to find it. It is most likely that the ride you were on has already loaded and left the station. Simply tell the Cast Member your situation and they will be able to retrieve it for you.
8. Jumping the chains or ropes
I’ve done many a humiliating trips and somehow managed to catch myself. Sadly much of the time people do a very painful face plant onto the concrete resulting in a broken nose, or worse, requiring a Medevac team to be called in to take them to the emergency room. Sometimes they reach out to grab onto someone else to keep from falling and they take that person down with them. That’s a really good way to ruin your vacation, your family’s plans, and all the other guests who now have to clear the queue area until the Medevac team comes to get you (and any of your victims lol) and take you out of the park. It is not worth it. Just keep your party together, make sure you have all gone to the restroom before getting in the queue.
7. Getting agitated by family members
This is one of the most heartbreaking situations I observe at the parks. Families openly squabbling, adults snapping at each other over what to ride next, parents screaming at their children, kids crying because they are being screamed at …please, plan as much as you can, discuss ahead of time what you want to do, what will be allowed, etc. When you discuss your trip you may find out that watching the afternoon parade was the thing your 5-year old heard about from his friends and it has become the most important thing he wants to do, then when it is time to choose FP+, you will know to choose one for that parade. If your daughter is scared of Pirates, don’t make her go this time and maybe she will want to go the next trip. Take her on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train instead. Talk to each other about your expectations and limitations. A Disney vacation is an investment and sometimes that puts pressure on to make it perfect and do everything. Perfection is improbable but planning can make it a better experience for everyone. Be patient with each other and you will all have a better time.
6. Arguing about your child being tall enough
Cast Members know why your child is not supposed to ride something if they are not tall enough. Disney will take a stand for safety every time. It can make your child feel embarrassed when you are shouting those words and everyone is looking at them. Do some research prior to coming to understand what rides and height restrictions are in place for your child. Make a list of the ones they cannot ride (because that would be shorter than the list of what he/she can ride) and plan accordingly.
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5. Being mean to Cast Members and other guests
Getting angry and demeaning with CM’s and other guests will not help you get your way. And if you are really abusive it will get you removed from the park and your WDW vacation will not be the same after that. Most guests are well mannered and tolerant and show respect to Cast Members and each other. They are not easily offended. Join the majority and lets all have a great time at Disney!
4. Ignoring what Cast Members tell you
This is a bad idea since Cast Members are there to ensure your safety and make your time in the parks more enjoyable. They give verbal instructions, there are written signs, yet still, guests do things that defy common sense as well as what they were just told to do by the CM. Situations arise that require the CM’s to give verbal commands. Not listening to them can lead to delays in getting onto a ride, your expulsion from the park, or you getting into a situation that endangers yourself and others.
3. Expect something because you are being rude
There are guests who believe they are entitled to what they want, no matter how extreme the request, and voice their opinion loudly. Do not demand you be given free stuff or free Disney tickets because something happened that you did not like or something did not happen that you expected. Perhaps you saw a Magical Moment happen for another guest and then loudly demanded you be given the same. It won’t work. Magical Moments are limited in nature.. They are the rare and special moments that make Disney World more magical. You are not going to be selected for anything special because you are rudely demanding it. It just doesn’t work that way. Smile, have fun, and you will enjoy your vacation!
2. Putting any body part out of a ride vehicle
We hear and see the message so many times that we almost ignore it: “Keep your arms, hands, feet and legs inside the ride vehicle at all times.” Some even add ‘keep your head inside’ as well due to things you will pass that are too close for you to be doing crazy things sticking your head way out to the side to photograph something when there is a structure up ahead that you will hit if your head is out to the side. There are also restrictions on Go Camera’s being at the level of your eyes and no higher. Unfortunately, there are still people, every day, who reach out to touch the water, or part of the ride props, etc. and at the very least they delay the ride from moving when they do this. And at the worst end, they damage or lose things because they did not heed this simple and constantly repeated warning. If you get out of a ride vehicle you will cause everyone else to have to be evacuated. You may very well be escorted from the property as well. This can be very bad for you if you do not heed it. Make sure your children understand it as well, and remember, they are watching you. Keep everything inside the ride or things may go very bad!
1. Not planning ahead
By planning ahead you avoid a lot of these other ones on the list. Understanding as much about Disney as you can before you leave home will give you the less stressful experience while in the parks. You can avoid talking about Space Mountain IF you know your child is not tall enough for them to ride. And in researching you will find out about Disney’s Rider Switch that will enable the rest of your party to enjoy Space Mountain while one adult waits with the too small to ride crowd, then that adult gets to choose up to two others in your party to go through FP+ line and ride together. Planning what types of meals you want-counter service or table service-lets you know what reservations to make, and approximately how much money to have for dining. Looking at maps of the parks is a great way to understand the lay of the land (and that comfortable shoes are a necessity to cover all those acres of fun)! Share what you are learning with the rest of your party and enjoy the building of excitement that comes as your WDW vacation draws nearer.